Be Fair. Please don't Share. - The Social Media Privacy Question

Photo credit: The Daily Mail
A very contentious issue came up this week. I already had a bit of a rant about how much we share at the risk of being socially anti-social. The question this week was what do we share, particularly as it relates to privacy, and drilling down even more, other people's privacy.

In this social media age where it seems to be open season for sharing, you have people sharing the most intimate details of life via Facebook updates, and photos on Facebook and Instagram. The problem is, it's sometimes not details about their life, but about yours.

New baby? Oh, let's post about your new baby - from when it was born, to the first photos.
Just got married? Let me share your photos, your vows, your buffet table.

I mean, is there a limit to how far we go with the sharing? I have no problem with those who wish to share their breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack with their 600-strong network. I do have a problem with those who feel sharing my special moments with that same 600-strong network is cool.

Now it's different folks for different strokes. There are those who have no problem with you taking photos of their wedding or children and sharing them everywhere, and that's fine. There are also those who feel like these are private moments that they wish to keep within the confines of cherished personal memories in a closed network of friends and family - whether they choose to keep that network offline, or online. There are some who will argue that you cannot stop persons from taking photos and sharing them on Facebook. My counter argument is, if I invite you to share in a special moment that I would like to keep private and bound to those closest to me, and I ask you politely to not share those moments with your online network, and you do, then I would have to strongly re-evaluate my relationship with you.

A super cute way of being very firm with
your guests about what they do at your wedding
A couple invites you to a wedding because in the most ideal of situations, they consider you a friend and someone special enough to share in their special day. They invited YOU - not you and your 600-strong Facebook network. Children I feel are particularly off limits because people guard them so closely. I have not even shared my niece's photos with friends since my brother has not done so with his friends. I am not "bes'" aunty and I respect the parents' decision to keep their little girl from the interwebs. I have shared her cuteness with friends one-on-one via email or instant messaging but that's aunty pride, and not a desire to overshare.

People need to respect other people's privacy especially if it is explicity requested. If your own life is so sad that you have to share everything from other people's lives to get "likes" and "comments", well...

What's worse and as I indicated in that other post, you lose the special moments when you are glued to the screen of the phone, trying to get the best angles etc. Just live life. Just enjoy the moments for what they are worth.

25 comments:

  1. OMG, YES girl. YES.

    It's funny. I feel as though I've almost made a business of putting my business out there. I work in social media. I'm always networking. Active on Twitter, Facebook. BUT that's MY life. What I share via Instagram or via other social networks is just through my own lens. I wouldn't publish a photo with a friend's child or upload a photo without the permission of that friend. Because I respect that not everyone leads an open existence and privacy is of the utmost importance. What's more--as you said--sometimes you can make the innocent mistake of sharing something and taking away that "WOW" moment for someone else.

    As involved as I am with a lot of it, I am coming to realize that this whole social media thing is incredibly invasive and voyeuristic.

    I've missed you. Excited to be here in your blog world again today, momma :) XOXO

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    1. I have missed you immensely. :-)
      I really try to respect my friends' privacy. While we may have mutual friends who may want to share in those moments, it is not my place to do so and then what about the people who don't know these people? It is just very intrusive. And I like how you said it - you may be stealing someone's wow moment...that is it exactly!

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  2. I won't ever share pictures of someone else's child without their permission. Especially of a new baby - that is a moment that the mom and dad should get to share first.

    As I work with sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors, I also realize that for some people, a picture share on facebook could be not only rude, but also very dangerous. It is always important to ask before you share.

    Love the kids with the signs at the wedding. That really is a cute way to remind your guests to keep the phones off and all eyes on the bride for her special day.

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    1. Totally agree. The world we live in is filled with people with sinister motives and social media is their hunting ground. Children are vulnerable as it is. We do not need to make them even more so by sharing, especially when their parents may not want that.

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  3. Yes! very true, just today I told my husband I was so sick of people taking photos of me and posting them on Weibo, the Chinese chat site. We live in a city in China where there are very few foreigners so we get snapped all the time and it is so invasive!

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    1. As I said, it seems to be open season - we are the hunted!!! lol. It is VERY invasive and sorry you have to go through that.

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  4. I am visiting from the SITS this morning. You are so right about the level of "sharing" that goes on through social media. May we each realize that we only have one life to live - our own. And that is also the only life we should share :)
    Have a great Saturday!
    Joanne

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    Replies
    1. One life to live - our own. So powerful. More people need to get that memo.

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Saturday to you as well.

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  5. Hi! Visiting from SITS! Great message and reminder to be more present and less focused on what their FB friends think! Those signs crack me up.... but on the other end of the spectrum people have hashtags for their wedding :)

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    1. And the ones who have hashtags, well, that's okay. If they are fine with that, and with everyone posting photos etc, then great. Once everyone understands and respects each other, it can be a happy situation.

      Thanks for popping over!!! :-)

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  6. I 100% believe that while I'm comfortable with sharing certain parts of my life online, I won't share parts of anyone else's life unless they give me express permission to or if they ASK me to. I don't think it's fair or right to make other people's announcements for them!

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    1. Co-sign. I think if someone has not permitted you to share their moments, you should respect that. Go create moments of your own.

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    2. There's sharing and then there is just ridiculous! I do NOT want to know every minute of your life, won't post mine, and I hate how people will flip out a phone to take a pic or text at the most inconvenient and rude times. Hi from Sharefest

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    3. Exactly. You're talking to someone and they whip out the phone in mid-sentence and miss the whole point of hanging out or whatever. I love social media. I worked in it. I just think people need to be sensible and respectful.

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  7. I can see your point. I think it is so so important to respect the privacy wishes of individuals. I've always asked my BIL/SIL before sharing photos of my nephew and I don't really care if my friends/family shares photos of my kids with their networks so long as they aren't explicit.

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  8. This is very relevant to me today, as I woke up to find out that my grandfather had passed away via a post my cousin made on facebook about it. Obviously this was something very personal to him as well & he wanted to share it with his facebook friends, but it did not occur to him that my parents may not have been able to speak with me yet. This is not exactly the same as what you're talking about, but is just another way in which social media takes away from moments which should be kept personal.

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    1. Wow. I am so sorry and that is a really extreme example. I am sure it was done unconsciously and in a time of grief, sometimes these things just happen as we try to cope. My condolences. But yes, this was a very personal moment that went very wrong via social media.

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  9. I agree, regarding firsts and special moments. I took pictures at my SIL/brother's wedding and immediately posted them, when I got a chance. My SIL is glued to social media, so I knew she wouldn't take issue. When one of my best friends had their first child, I took pictures and asked if they'd posted anything yet, so as not to spoil the fun of getting to be the first ones to announce the birth of their own child. I think a little consideration of the parties involved and common sense goes a long way. Happy SITSShareFest!

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    1. Common sense is rare these days. But I agree with you there - it makes a difference. Thanks for stopping by!!

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  10. I tend to be a super private person in real life, so I do find it very difficult to share details about it online. Even with having my son recently, I've only posted one post about him and made one video. I'm weary to share, because some things should be cherished and kept private.

    Great post! Very insightful. Thanks for sharing!

    Tenns @ New Mama Diaries

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    1. Friends hanging out is fine. I post those. Those are open and fun moments. I have always waited for friends to post their personal moments first before going all social media on them. Sometimes some would ask "how come you have not posted photos from X yet?" because they may have been waiting for their own photos. In those cases, sure...I will post. But if they ask me not to, I won't. I respect my friendships.

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  11. I'm very careful to only post things that directly pertain to myself and my family and if I'm going to post a picture with someone else, I always check with that person. Good post.

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    1. Thanks. Yeah...my stream is all about me. lol. Thanks for popping by.

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  12. I agree with you on this. I haven't shared any pictures of my youngest niece because my brother does not want his child all over FB. I respect that 100% I,also do NOT share anyone else's business or pics without their permission. Me, I don't care who,takes my pics or shares certain moments. I,want everyone to,share the
    special,times in my life. #SITSsharefest

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  13. This post is the very reason I share little to nothing personal about myself in social media. The photos on my Twitter page consists of my favorite sunscreen, Viola Davis, the temperature reading from my car on a hot day (103 degrees), hemp seeds, sliced apples etc. Knock yourself out and share them with the world. Won't matter to me one bit. LOL!

    I think its rude for others to share other peoples info but like my Bajan mother always says, if you don't tell it, they can't repeat it and if you don't put it out there, they can't share it.

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